“Little note” is taken from the Gettysburg Address. President Lincoln predicted that “the world would little note, nor long remember” what was said at Gettysburg — a false prophecy, as it turned out. Exploring how we experience and understand the past is the goal of my immersive theater project. When first introduced to the idea of immersive theater, living history projects such as Civil War reenactments and Colonial Williamsburg immediately crossed my mind. Historical reenactment is, to my mind, defined by some key dualities: a commitment to historical accuracy v. the clear artifice of the environment; the evocation of sentimentality towards an obviously problematic past; and the applicability of the lessons of the past to the present.
I’ve designed “Little Note” with these dualities in mind. The set will be composed of two houses, one modern and dormitory-style, and the other in the style of the Civil-War era. Visitors will be able to travel between the houses at will. A group of actors will be playing Civil War reenactors. The dormitory will feature these actors in their leisure time. Ideally, they will discuss politics and pop culture with one another, but the content will be determined by individual actors. The Civil War era house will be the site of the reenactment. There, the actors will discuss the War and be engaged in various wartime preparations. I hope that this juxtaposition will clarify some of the reasons why a person would be interested in the reenactment of difficult moments in history. I also hope that the format would draw out some of the legacies of this conflict and their implications for the present.
My poster design is a collage of Civil War imagery and symbols of modernity. The Wawa skyscraper is inspired by a classmate who told me that there is a Wawa (convenience store) on the grounds of Colonial Williamsburg.